Dairy farms testing positive for Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis have poorer hygiene practices and are less cautious when purchasing cattle than test-negative herds.

Abstract

Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP), the causative agent of Johne's disease, is present on most dairy farms in Alberta, causing economic losses and presenting a potential public health concern. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to identify risk factors for Alberta dairy herds being MAP-positive based on environmental samples (ES). Risk assessments were conducted and ES were collected on 354 Alberta dairy farms (62% of eligible producers) voluntarily participating in the Alberta Johne's Disease Initiative. In univariate logistic regression, risk factors addressing animal and pen hygiene, as well as the use of feeding equipment to remove manure and manure application on pastures, were all associated with the number of positive ES. Furthermore, based on factor analysis, risk factors were clustered and could be summarized as 4 independent factors: (1) animal, pen, and feeder contamination; (2) shared equipment and pasture contamination; (3) calf diet; and (4) cattle purchase. Using these factor scores as independent variables in multivariate logistic regression models, a 1-unit increase in animal, pen, and feeder contamination resulted in 1.31 times higher odds of having at least 1 positive ES. Furthermore, a 1-unit increase in cattle purchase also resulted in 1.31 times the odds of having at least 1 positive ES. Finally, a 100-cow increase in herd size resulted in an odds ratio of 2.1 for having at least 1 positive ES. In conclusion, cleanliness of animals, pens, and feeders, as well as cattle purchase practices, affected risk of herd infection with MAP. Therefore, improvements in those management practices should be the focus of effective tools to control MAP on dairy farms.

DOI: 10.3168/jds.2015-10478

Cite this paper

@article{Wolf2016DairyFT, title={Dairy farms testing positive for Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis have poorer hygiene practices and are less cautious when purchasing cattle than test-negative herds.}, author={Robert Erich Wolf and H W Barkema and J De Buck and K Orsel}, journal={Journal of dairy science}, year={2016}, volume={99 6}, pages={4526-4536} }